Daz3D is a feature rich 3D animation, morphing, posing, and rendering suite that enables anyone to create impressive digital animations and illustrations. Daz3D allows users to create unique digital art using virtual animals and people, including accessories, environments, props, vehicles, and more. The artist places their chosen subject in the desired setting, arranges their accessories, adjusts the scene’s lighting, and then proceeds to craft a beautiful work of art. With GPU accelerated real-time rendering, the photo-realistic results of each project are truly stunning. There are many interactive tutorials available that users can take advantage of to learn how to use the program and become proficient 3D artists. Artists using Daz3D own their projects, royalty free.
The best part? It’s free to use Daz Studio Pro. (Registration is required)
How is a program such as this free? Is the program good? Is it worth a try?
First, A Little History
It all began with a 3D character art and animation program called Poser. Originally developed for artists and hobbyists, the program utilized production processes and a model library for the creation of scenes with human figures. The customization options were incredible and allowed users to not only add clothing and accessories such as glasses and jewelry, but to also set eye color along with hair color and styles for the creation of truly unique characters. Not long after, users were also able to create scenes with cars, furniture, and even spaceships. Settings could be crafted for historical, modern, or futuristic scenes. The sky was the limit!
At first part of Zygote Media, another 3D content developer, Daz3D’s founders, Dan Farr and Chris Creek, recognized a fast-growing market and struck out on their own to focus on content creation for Poser. Poser enjoyed great popularity and the demand for content was considerable. Websites like Renderosity, RuntimeDNA, Poserworld, and more came from that content need. Content for Poser is still produced today, usually alongside content for Daz3D.
As a result of all of this, Daz3D crafted a scene creator of their own, DAZ Studio. With the realization that competing against Poser wouldn’t be easy, the bold marketing decision was made to offer DAZ Studio for free. In hindsight, it was a smart move because it provided an opportunity for anyone with an interest in 3D art and animation to obtain a program that allowed them to design it. Poser was only a couple hundred dollars at the time but a more upscale program, like Lightwave, could easily cost an aspiring artist thousands of dollars.
In time, DAZ began to expand its operation. First, they started designing inventory exclusively for their DAZ Studio, creating a library of unique products of their own. A paid version of DAZ Studio was also offered that included advanced features and functions not available with the free program. Eventually, they began acquiring and selling other 3D applications like Bryce and Carrara and created innovative compatibility functions. A user could move DAZ scenes into Bryce or create models for DAZ Studio in Carrara.
An Evolution of Human Figures
While Poser ruled the affordable 3D realm, DAZ took the lead in the production of human figures for 3D art. At the turn of the century, it started with the first generation of Millennium Man and Woman figures and they were wildly popular. Updated versions were released on a regular basis, renamed Michael and Victoria. After them were girl and boy characters along with a myriad of animal figures, fantasy and monster figures, and many more. Characters became increasingly more innovative as time went by and adjustments could be made to every part of the body by the artist for posing purposes.
DAZ’s figures today are the best and most advanced yet. The Genesis figures, male and female, feature the most realistic human styling available in 3D. Their new, superior architecture allows for amazing control, articulation, and movement. After several generations of Genesis, the advanced artistry of Daz3D can be witnessed in movies, on book covers, and across freelance art and design everywhere. Better yet? They can be easily customized to accommodate any style or genre.
Today’s Daz3D Studio
Today’s incarnation of Daz3D Studio has a lot to offer all artists from the novice to the advanced. Graphic novels can be digitally created by an artist with minimal artistic ability using traditional pencil and paper. The program can be used by experts in various industries to create reference material for larger projects of all types. Set and props designers on movie sets, for example, can do mockups for a requested prop or costume piece using Daz3D Studio and from there present ideas for approval to production companies and finally, bring their designs to life. Because it’s cost-effective, Daz3D is used not only for films but also for music video production, book cover design, marketing efforts, product designs, and more.
Easy to use and customize user interface
The user interface for Daz3D Studio provides a nice balance between educational and fun. It’s no easy fete to create an interface that can be used by artists of all skill levels, including the novice, but Daz3D pulls it off nicely. Customization is important here so elements can be resized and repositioned to suit the artist’s unique workflow. There are also nice annotations provided to help guide users in accomplishing their desired tasks within the program.
It’s compatible with the latest versions of Windows and Mac
There are many ways to get customer support
Daz3D Studio offers much in the way of customer support including a knowledge base, user forums, and ticket-based help. The forums, in particular, are a great way to get help as there are a lot of users there, of all experience levels, who generously donate their time to help others learn and use the program, and all of its potential uses, which they feel very strongly about.
The 3D figure customization software is easy to use with Photoshop and ZBrush
Daz3d Studio makes it so easy to harness the power of Photoshop or ZBrush in 3D figure customization. Adobe Bridge can be used to pull in the features of Photoshop without using any additional codecs. Free plugins like GoZ can be used to transfer models and textures seamlessly between ZBrush and Daz3D Studio.
The 3D animation software includes very useful additional software
That’s right! Once you download Daz3D Studio, you get some starter bundles to go along with it. Genesis Starter Essentials is such a rather large content bundle included free with your Daz3D Studio download. The bundle makes it easy for the user to begin rendering with confidence using this impressive collection of characters, clothing, props, and scenes.
The installation process can be hard to understand for new users
Because of the complexity of the program and its storage needs for the content it uses, the installation process may not make sense to those new to Daz3D Studio. Daz3D Studio uses different content types and the organization of such is so important to the program’s functionality. There are guides and much information on the web to help users with the installation process but it can be very vexing to some even with such help.
User forums for the program don’t provide enough help for some users
While this is true about many types of software, again, Daz3D Studio is a complex program. Even for users who have used similar products or understand the concepts of 3D art rendering, there will still be a learning curve.
Daz3d Studio doesn’t work well on a UNIX partition under Mac OS X
Daz3D Studio is free but…
The program itself can be obtained for free and as mentioned earlier, you also get a large bundle of assets to get you started in learning how to use Daz3D Studio. That being said, unless you are a super-fast learner with an abundance of time on your hands, you will undoubtedly need to buy props, accessories, or backgrounds/settings for your projects until such time that you are able to create assets of your own. Even once you reach a certain level of proficiency with the program and 3D art, sometimes it’s faster, or preferable, to go with a ready-made background from an artist whose style you like that coordinates well with your own.
Keep in mind that while Daz3D Studio program is free, artists who use it often have hundreds, even thousands of dollars invested in their libraries for use. (On the plus side, however, if at some future point you determine that you have a talent for creating such resources for use in the library of Daz3D Studio, you may find a way to make money in becoming a vendor.)
Daz3D Studio is powerful software that can help aspiring artists, regardless of their level of experience, bring their digital art and illustrations to life in stunningly beautiful ways. While there are costs attached to library items used to create art using the software, the program itself is free and is backed by a wonderful community of fellow artists in a user forum where help can be obtained if needed. Help can also be found in the program’s knowledge base and ticket-based support system.
Daz3D Studio remains a leader in humanoid figures still today and offers superior scenes and props for use in creating digital art, books covers, movies, illustrations, graphic novels, and so much more. With over 16,000 related products/assets including people, creatures, clothing, accessories, vehicles, and environments, artists can find most anything they need to create unforgettable, beautiful art.